A while back, I pinned this image of a vertical garden (also known as a living wall or green wall) to my “for the garden” Pinterest board. It shows an old pallet used to grow a wall of plants, and I pinned it because we have an ugly wall built from 1970s decorative concrete blocks at the side of our garden which I’m desperate to disguise, and I thought this idea was genius.
The concept of a green roof – the roof of a building partially or completely covered with growing vegetation – is probably more familiar than green walls. There’s one near my in-laws house in County Durham which is low enough to have sheep grazing on it, and I spent far too long recently engrossed in watched the sloping green roof of a building being mowed (the lawnmower was attached to the rope and lowered down the slope!). But living walls are having a real design moment right now, and are popping up all over the place both inside and outside, and often in the most unexpected of locations.
Believed to be the largest living wall in the UK, the living wall at the Rubens at the Palace hotel in London is a gigantic 350sq m. Containing a total of more than 10,000 herbaceous plants, the wall is watered by rainwater that falls on the building’s roof, and is designed to provide waves of blossoming plants throughout the year. One of the things I love about London is the number of green parks found all across the city, so adding green space vertically too seems like a perfect way to complement this (visit www.hoteldirect.co.uk/london for deals on London hotel stays including Rubens at the Palace). This time lapse video of the wall shows how the previously ugly bare wall has been transformed – the finished wall is vibrant, eye-catching and softens the hard edges of the building.
I think something of this scale is probably a little on the ambitious side for my own garden, but there are plenty of ideas out there to recreate the look on a more accessible, DIY level, and I’m determined to add one of these to my list of garden projects for 2014.
I’ve come across a number of images showing guttering used as planters that can be attached to a wall or fence. You can then plant directly into the guttering itself, or use the guttering as a shelf for plant pots. What I like about this idea is that you can paint the guttering to turn it into a feature in itself – I’d pick a nice bright colour to add some fun to our wall.
These vertical strips of plants have been created using purpose-built trays full of angled cells into which you place individual plants. You can then attach the trays to the wall separately or next to each other to cover a larger area.
A lot of the living walls I’ve seen, especially ones for interior walls, use succulents. These are ideal for vertical gardens because they’re slow-growing, have shallow roots, and require less water than herbaceous plants. This thrifty idea of turning an old wooden tray into a wall planter is brilliant.
Woolly Pocket offers modular, green, breathable vertical garden planters (they look just like pockets) that can be installed on any indoor or outdoor wall, fence or railing. You simply use multiple planters to create the configuration you need – this seems incredibly straightforward though not the cheapest option out there.
Of course if you don’t fancy the upkeep, there’s always the cheat’s option. I spotted an artificial interior living wall in a recent issue of Livingetc made by Bright Green-Walls and I’ve discovered they do an exterior version too. I don’t think it would be quite the same though, do you?
Disclosure: This is a sponsored post. Compensation was provided by Hotel Direct to write this post, but the content and views are all my own.